I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen – the Battleship Pretension Top 100 provided just that challenge.
My only experience with Some Like it Hot before this viewing was on an airplane about fifteen years ago on a high school trip to Hawaii. Needless to say a bunch of teenagers on a plane to a tropical paradise were less than engaged in a black and white film about cross-dressers. Now that I have finally seen it in earnest, I don’t blame teenage me for giving this a miss on the airplane, but I am glad I finally caught up with it.
The flimsy plot of musicians Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) witnessing a mob hit which sends them on a train trip with a female band dressed as Josephine and Daphne respectively is silly but fun. I admit I expected a lot more gender insensitivity then I got. Joe and Jerry certainly take advantage of their situation but they also grow a little through their experience.
I realized that this was my first Marilyn Monroe film. I’ve, of course, seen clips and scenes with her before but she was a bit of a revelation for me in this film. She is everything I expected: sexy, flakey, and fun. What I didn’t expect was a solid acting talent and decent comedic timing. It probably doesn’t hurt that she has the fantastic comedic talent of Curtis and Lemmon backing her up but she holds her own and was one of my favorite parts of the film.
There have been lots of movies made about men pretending to be women and women pretending to be men and they all achieve varying levels of success but Some Like it Hot is one of the most successful examples. Writer and director Billy Wilder knows how to keep a plot moving forward while keeping it light and fun without feeling vapid or stupid. He uses his actors’ strengths and delivers a film worthy of the Battleship Pretension Top 100 movies list.
I’ve decided to rate each film using an arbitrary scale based on the board game Battleship (lowest: Destroyer, Submarine, Cruiser, Battleship, highest: Carrier)
Some Like it Hot ranking: Battleship